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Blast protection device makes big impact

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A REVOLUTIONARY new blast protection system could soon be used in the UK following tests to enable design code development.

Derbyshire-based developer Aigis developed the Tabreshield product, which is already in use protecting airports and office blocks across the world, but until now its presence has been minimal in the UK.

Tabreshield is a lightweight cladding made from hollow glass balls held together with resin.

Its inventor David Christian explained that it weighs approximately 50kg/m 2 and behaves like a stone sponge, absorbing the blast and then, if necessary, disintegrating to disperse the impact.

It can be retrofi ted to buildings, tunnels or structures. It can also be used to clad specific areas used to store suspected letter bombs or suspicious luggage.

The developments come as US police announced they had foiled plans by terrorists to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Two explosion tests were carried out in Woomera, Australia to provide the necessary data for developing design codes to aid engineers in specifying the material for cladding.

First was a 5000kg ammonium nitrate fuel oil bomb, equivalent to the largest ever bomb set off by the IRA, made from pesticide and diesel, said Christian.

In a second test, the material resisted a 5t trinitrotoluene (TNT) bomb positioned 40m away. Unclad reinforced concrete failed when positioned 100m away, he said.

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